Stories: Children, Communities, Futures

Sebastian’s story

Two years ago, Sebastian was a dangerously ill 12-year-old boy.

At just 16 kilograms, the average weight for a healthy three-year-old, he was so weak he could barely lift his head. His mother had died from AIDS and Sebastian had been born with HIV.

Sebastian had never been treated for the disease and when he was finally reunited with his grandmother, she barely recognised him.

Today, at 14, Sebastian has made miraculous improvements. He has gained weight and controls his disease with medication. He lives with his grandparents, and they attend counselling and support groups.

He was even able to attend a special camp with other HIV-positive orphaned children, which he says helped him to realise that he is not alone.

According to a recent ONE report, the world could be approaching a tipping point in the fight against AIDS. As more HIV-positive people receive access to antiretroviral medications, 2015 will mark the first year since the disease reached epidemic status that the number of people receiving treatment will exceed the number of new infections.

Yet, AIDS remains one of the world`s largest public health problems and a number of significant obstacles remain in achieving the ‘beginning of the end of AIDS`.

ChildFund works in many countries in which AIDS is prevalent, including Kenya. Despite the worldwide gains outlined in the ONE report, millions of children’s lives are impacted by AIDS every year. In fact, according to UNICEF, 1.1 million Kenyan children were orphaned due to AIDS in 2011 alone.

In Kenya and other countries, ChildFund is committed to helping orphans and children affected by AIDS. Thanks to a matching grant of $3.5 million provided by the United States Agency for International Development, ChildFund was able to help improve the lives of children like Sebastian, who made an amazing recovery from the brink of death after receiving access to antiretroviral medications.

Although his family still struggles to make enough money to meet their basic needs, Sebastian is healthy and happy and lives an active life. More importantly, he now has hope for the future.

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